According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the Florida Panthers should trade defenseman Dmitry Kulikov within the week.
For the Colorado Avalanche, this is the prefect opportunity to add a young top four defenseman.
Kulikov is a 23 year old defenseman who has run his course in Florida. He's not huge at 6'1 205 but he is mobile with offensive upside. His numbers will not amaze but his play is better than his numbers.
For Patrick Roy and the Avalanche, there are three reasons to add Kulikov to the team.
The Florida Panthers have just about hit rock bottom in the league. Only the Buffalo are below them. Everyone on the team has seemingly struggled and Kulikov is no exception. He was even a healthy scratch during the last game against Ottawa.
For some fans this means Kulikov is not worth acquiring but that also means he's a buy low option for the Avs. Kulikov has the talent and put on a display when he played in Colorado on November 16. In that game, he covered Matt Duchene's line and limited their opportunities better than the other team this side of St. Louis.
At this point the Avs could buy low on a defenseman who has a lot of talent which he has proven, albeit, not consistently. What he really needs is a system in which he can flourish.
This is leads to the next point. Acquiring Kulikov would be as good for the Avs as it would be for the player. Roy's up-tempo system stresses players make low-risk plays up the ice with a lot of forward support for the defense. His numbers do not stand out but the player himself has the talent that would thrive in this system.
He's mobile with good size and experience quarterbacking the powerplay. He is also left handed which the Avalanche could certainly use. Kulikov could play with Erik Johnson or, since Johnson is working so well with Jan Hejda, play on the second pairing with any of the other defensemen.
If the Avs are going to fight with teams like St. Louis in the playoffs, they need to add another top four defenseman. By doing this the Avs should not affect the core of their team which has been working exceptionally well.
Kulikov would be a great add but he is still unproven. For that reason the Avs should be wary parting with something extremely high value like Paul Stastny (unlikely) or Barrie (unwise). John Mitchell, Jamie McGinn, Ryan Wilson or a pick should be part of the offer.
What Say you Avs fans? Would you want Kulikov? What would you trade to get him?